State budget season has officially arrived. Over the next several months, 47 governors across the country will unveil their spending plans for fiscal year 2020 – or for the next two fiscal years in the case of the 17 biennial states. Kentucky, Virginia, and Wyoming have already enacted biennial budgets that include fiscal year 2020. On November 1, Colorado’s outgoing governor unveiled his final budget proposal, in accordance with the state’s statutory budget deadline, becoming the first state to release an executive budget for consideration in the 2019 legislative session.
Governors’ budget submission deadlines vary across states and are typically set in statute, or less commonly, in a state’s constitution. Four states (Colorado, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Montana) typically release their executive budgets in November. Nine states submit in December (Oregon, Wyoming, North Dakota, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota, Virginia, and Washington). The majority of states release their governors’ budgets in January or February. In a few states, governors’ budget deadlines alternate year-to-year in conjunction with varying start dates of the state’s legislative session, such as is the case in Alabama.
Based on the outcomes of last week’s gubernatorial elections, 20 new governors will take office for the next term. Do budget submission deadlines vary when there is a change in administration? That depends on the state. Many states grant an extended budget deadline for new governors, though the length of the extension varies considerably, ranging from a few days to a month or more.
Whether a state grants an extended budget deadline depends in part on how a state handles the executive budget submission in a year of transition. This is inevitably tied to the regular budget calendar of that state, and whether the standard budget deadline comes before or after the inauguration of a new governor. In most of the states where the governor’s budget submission deadline precedes the inauguration of a new governor, the outgoing governor submits a budget proposal to the legislature. The incoming governor submits a new proposal in January or February. In other states, only the new governor proposes a budget.
Curious to learn more about governors’ budget submission deadlines, which states grant extensions for new governors, and other key dates in the state budget process? Check out Table 1 on the “Budget Calendar” in NASBO’s Budget Processes in the States report.
Additionally, as in past years, NASBO will be posting links to governors’ budget proposals for fiscal 2020 (and fiscal 2021 for biennial states) as they are released on our States’ Proposed and Enacted Budgets page.